beautiful dried michigan cherries ~ you can bring some of these beauties home in case you miss the National Cherry Festival in July. Did you know that the airport in Traverse City, MI, is called Cherry Capitol Airport? I just love that.
I made ‘white salad’ for the “W” of Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables. White salad? Where was my mind?? What kind of nonsense was that!?? It was desperation, that’s what it was. It did taste good, but today I felt the need to redeem myself in the kitchen. I put urad dal to soak last night, and I tried an experiment: idlis with sourdough leaven. They came out better than I hoped!
The chutney was a surprise success as well. The rich, dark, not-too-sweet taste of dried cherries, mellowed by soaking, combined with fresh salty and slightly-sweet taste of boiled peanuts is delightful. Nothing else is necessary, but a simple seasoning brings out the best of flavors.
makes about 20 idlis
1/2 c whole washed urad dal (soak overnight, drain, reserve soaking water)
1 c idli rava
1 tsp methi seeds (soak overnight)
1 tsp salt
1 heaping TB active sourdough starter
Grind (I used food processor with metal blade) the dal and methi to a smooth paste, adding reserved soaking water as necessary to make a medium-thick batter. Add the idli rava and the salt and grind further, adding more soaking water as necessary. I have only made idlis once before this, so I was working on instinct for the consistency of the batter. Finally add the sourdough starter, mix another minute, and turn the batter into a large bowl to ferment.
Let this ferment outdoors (was near 90 today) covered, for awhile. Or you can put it into the oven which had been heated to 100F and then turned off. When the batter is about double in size (4-6 hrs depending on your weather!), it’s time to make idlis.
Steam the idlis as usual. Meanwihle, make the chutney.
Dried Cherry-Peanut Chutney
makes about 2/3 c
1 tsp canola oil
1/2 c fresh boiled peanuts with skins on
3-4 green chiles, chopped (I seeded mine)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c onion, chopped
1/4 c dried cherries, soaked 1/4 c warm water
1 tsp cumin seeds (roast if you like, but not necessary)
salt to taste (only if the peanuts were boiled without salt)
Heat the oil in a small saucepan and add the garlic and chiles. Cook over medium heat about 2-3 minutes, till fragrant. Add the chopped onion and fry, stirring, until browned. Add boiled peanuts and cook, stirring, long enough to warm the peanuts — a minute or two should do it.
Switch off the heat and allow to cool.
Grind peanut/onion mixture together with the soaked cherries and as much of their soaking water as necessary to get the consistency you prefer.